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Intended Audience: All Engineers
Credits: 2 PDH Units
When: Thursday 9/7. 2 – 4 pm EST

We promise you a very special webinar .  This is not your ordinary boring ethics webinar.  We are very proud to bring this webinar to you.

This Engineering Ethics Webinar on the tragic collapse of the World Trade Center towers first discusses the engineering aspects of design, construction, and the damage due to the planes’ impact and the ensuing fire. Then, Dr. Astaneh summarizes his findings of several weeks he spent in New York, supported by the National Science Foundation, to conduct reconnaissance and collection of perishable data and more than five years of analytical studies of the collapse that followed. The last part of the Webinar will focus on engineering ethics and discuss the ethical problems of the collapse investigation by a team organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers and funded by FEMA.

Dr. Astaneh spent a year (2001-2002) investigating and documenting the debris from the WTC collapsed towers.  Then, in May 2002, he testified before the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress on his findings.  After hearing his testimony, the Committee on Science provided him with the drawings of the WTC Towers so he could continue his studies of the engineering aspects of the collapse. Unfortunately, the drawings of the WTC Towers were, and still are, under the seal, with no public access. Having received the drawings, Dr. Astaneh and his team of volunteers spent five years (2002-2007) and more than 4,000 hours performing structural analysis of the impact of airplanes on the north tower. The main conclusion of the studies was that the unique and unusual structural system used in the World Trade Center, which was “Steel Bearing Walls,” without a “framing system” used in both WTC towers, was at the root of their collapse. Because of the thin steel bearing walls, the airplane easily entered the towers almost intact. It delivered a large amount of jet fuel to the core of the building, starting a fire that caused a reduction in the strength of the outside Steel building, leading to the towers’ collapse.

References and Recommended Further Readings:

  1. World Trade Center Archives from Professor A. Astaneh, Website containing all of Professor Astaneh’s documents, photos, reports, PowerPoints, and other material he generated for his investigation of the World Trade Center collapse sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  2. WTC Steel Wreckage at Claremont Scrapyard Feat. Dr. Astaneh-Asl,
  3. World Trade Center: Anatomy of the Collapse” (TLC, 2002) on DVD. com.
  4. Fresh Air’s Terry Gross Interview with Prof. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl on His WTC Reconnaissance, Public Broadcasting System, 22:13 minutes Audio Broadcast
  5. WTC Hearing of Committee on Science of U.S. House of Representatives Hearing (with Dr. Astaneh-Asl testifying his findings),
  6. Code of Ethics for Professional Engineers, by National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
  7. NSPE Ethics Reference Guide
  8. ASCE Code of Ethics
  9. Ethics, Technology, and Engineering, a textbook by Ibo van de Poel and Lambèr Royakkers, Wily-Blackwell, 2011.
  10. Concepts and Cases-Engineering Ethics, a textbook by Charles E. Harris et al., published by Cengage2019.

Date:  Thursday. September 7. 2023.  Starts: 2 – 4 pm EST/EDT
Credits: 2 PDH Units

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student should understand:

  • What was the “unusual” structural system of the World Trade Center Towers? It was a Steel Bearing Wall.
  • What were the Fire Protection Systems in the WTC Towers, and were they adequate?
  • Were the exits and staircases in the WTC Towers adequate for timely evacuation in case of a fire?
  • Was the structure designed for the impact of a plane, as the designers claimed? It was not.
  • Was there any evidence of an explosion or blast, as the conspiracy theorist claims?  The answer is no.
  • What was the engineering cause of the collapse?
  • Would the same towers, designed using a known structural system instead of the unusual Steel Bearing Walls, survive the attack? The answer is yes.
  • How the “conflict of interest” in the ASCE Building Performance Assessment Team members investigating the performance and tragic September 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center towers prevented finding the actual engineering cause, which was the use of “Steel Bearing Wall” system, which was very vulnerable to fires.

Special Webinar Instructions

After payment, please visit this webinar page, click “Start Course” and fill out the Webinar Registration Form.  You’ll receive email notification and details on how to join the webinar.  You will then be able to access the webinar slides, test your system and receive webinar reminders.  After completing the webinar requirements, your certificate of completion will be saved and available for download in your profile.

We value your feedback! Please rate this webinar after completion.

Group Discounts Available

Course Reviews


64 ratings
  • 5 stars27
  • 4 stars20
  • 3 stars7
  • 2 stars0
  • 1 stars4
  1. 5

    The collapse was boiled down to fundamental structural engineering. I real really enjoyed it.

  2. [Live Webinar] World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    Informative course, although the ethical issues component of the presentation seemed to be more of a ‘throw-in’ towards the end. As a NYer who witnessed a number of funerals in the days and weeks that followed, and had the heartache of attending one, it resonated deeply.

  3. Very interesting and informative.


    I had no idea of the potential role that the design/detailing may have played in the collapse of the WTC Twin Towers until I took this course. The finite element model comparison of the aircraft striking the WTC versus a conventionally-framed alternative was particularly enlightening.

  4. Very Informative


    Overall a very good presentation but I thought the ethics issues were very weak. The PDH website on the other had was horrible and often not responsive



    Very interesting presentation and i enjoyed the post presentation Q&A dialogue

  6. World Trade Center - Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of its Collapse


    Material presented was very informative. However, I would have liked to see a stronger tie to the Ethical Issues.

  7. wtc ethical issues in the design, construction & the investigation of its collapse


    I finally figured out after how to get to the quiz for the seminar. Not easy. The certificate prints terrible. Lettering overlaps other lettering, the background should be on a light gray tone of sorts. You need to fix your site. I don’t think I will use you again for other courses.

  8. 4

    Course was informative and revealing, although at times repetitive. Technical analysis seemed logical and fairly straightforward, although providing the designers’ rationale (if known) for choice of building structure approach (if other than cost-cutting and increasing rentable space) would have been helpful. Could be improved by clearer formatting of transitions with reference to introduction. Exchange at the end with an “interested party” was a bit defiant in response to very pointed (although ultimately not very compelling) questions. As an aside, I remember a presentation (before 2001) at a local ASCE branch meeting by former engineer for PANYNJ (chief engineer as I recall) regarding the 1993 bombing…I believe he was one of the group who managed to escape an elevator using car keys to cut through the wall into the bathroom.

  9. Enjoyed the Course


    The material presented was very interesting. I did not know anything about the structural design vs. typical design or about local building codes, etc. This was more of a structural webinar than an ethics webinar, but I was ok with that. I was unaware of the ethical issues the presenter shared, primarily regarding the investigation. Some of this was controversial. I thought the presenter got sidetracked when challenged about those issues, and a moderator might have limited that discussion.

  10. World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues


    Nice info I have never heard previously. Intriguing!

  11. Great course, can't work around the website


    I won’t be taking any more courses from PDH source. The website is awkward and the opposite of intuitive. Finally got copies of the materials but never could download the certificate directly into my CEU file. Everyone else seems to have figured out how to do this, why not PDH Source.

  12. WTC Ethical Issues


    This course showed in great detail the WTC construction design and its shortcomings that put public safety at risk. It further revealed the ethical issues during the investigation of the WTC colllapse.

  13. World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    I enjoyed it.

  14. World Trade Center


    The webinar gave a detailed and well organized account of the engineering aspects of the design. It clearly indicated that the design elements and ethical decisions had a great contribution to the collapse in 2001. It was way more information than was ever released previously.

  15. Very Informative and Easily Worth the Price of Admission


    I found Dr. Astaneh to be quite an expert in the field of forensic engineering. In my opinon, the design firm ( John Skilling) at the end of the webinar was put to shame by Dr. Astaneh. Hands Down.

    Charles Pillari

  16. Very informative, interesting


    The material presented was unique, I have not seen any similar analysis of the technical side of the event.
    The continuous negative commenting by Jon Magnusson was distracting both to the audience and to the presenter – PDH should have “muted or tuned out” his comments during the presentation. He obviously is not at all objective since he was involved in creating the structural analysis for the towers.
    Professor Astaneh is not a great presenter but what he presented was factual and eye opening. As someone who works on safety related products in the auto industry, I was shocked to see how little attention seems to have been given to Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. And shocked to see such a major structure built without the normal oversights that come with building permits. The ethical considerations have broad implications wherever engineers work on anything that involves safety.
    I would recommend the professor give attention to even more of the technical analysis and some editing to reduce redundancy in the comments regarding the ethical problems. They are very important but could become even clearer with more technical facts.
    Also, the sound quality could use improvement.

  17. New Construction Perspective


    Was an informative course that gave me a new perspective on construction of the Towers, and generally building construction, that I was not aware of. There was some distraction from one of the attendees who may have had a personal issue with Dr. Astaneh.

  18. Didn’t address the actual collapse


    Unfortunately, the course did not address any of the key evidence of the WTC collapse. No mention of: The uniform downward acceleration with no jolts or impacts, no discussion of eutectic formations “Swiss cheese” melting of steel or the source of sulfur found in FEMA Appendix C, why there were no stacks of floors at ground zero (unlike the Miami Condo collapse) , no discussion of the observed lead-lagging of floor /corner destruction during collapse wave, the “squibs” observed in the collapse wave, why the core columns stood for many seconds after everything else was pulverized, why NIST stopped their investigation at “collapse initiation”, why NIST didn’t support the pancake theory, why the “pile driver theory” violates Newtons laws, why no real world experiment has ever demonstrated the collapse observed, the source of the iron (not steel) microspheres found, and the peer reviewed paper of the active nano thermite found.
    The hundreds of eyewitnesses, oral testimonies of the firefighters and audio sounds of explosions were simply dismissed as a “no”, but no reason given why all those first responders, oral testimonies and audio recordings are wrong.
    On a positive note, during discussion the Professor did seem to agree that the University of Alaska study for the collapse of WTC 7 made more sense than the NIST study. The University of Alaska study concluded that all columns had to have been severed simultaneously to produce the free fall of WTC 7.

  19. Excellent Course


    Dr. Astaneh offered a lot of information and firsthand knowledge. It was interesting to hear his opinion on what caused the collapse, what could have been done differently when designing the towers, and the ethical issues that came up during the investigation.

  20. WTC Presentation


    The analysis of the failure of the towers was very good. The detail and first hand knowledge were fantastic. Overall I enjoyed the presentation. The ethical discussion was a bit far reaching at times, but again a very interesting presentation.

  21. WTC Engineering Ethics


    Extremely informative course in regards to the design and construction of the WTC. The Ethics portion provides excellent guidance on how to view code, engineering best practices, and clients wishes. I highly recommend this course.

  22. 5

    A very interesting topic and the moderator kept it simple and interesting.

  23. WTC Collapse


    The course provided sufficient information concerning the WTC’s design, construction, and collapse investigation to raise ethical questions. Overall the course was informative as to the various factors that may have led to the collapse. The speaker occasionally drifted off on short tangents at times.

  24. WTC Engineering Ethical Issues in Design, Construction and Investigation of Collapse.


    Excellent course, the author explains in a rational and scientific manner the findings in his investigation.

  25. Excellent ethics course


    Professor Astaneh-Asi provided a fascinating summary of the engineering, ethics, and maintenance factors that contributed to the horrific collapse of the WTC. Excellent course!

  26. World Trade Center - Engineering Ethical Issues


    This was a very informative webinar. The content was thorough and well documented. The speaker has extensive experience as a first hand investigator of the WTC towers collapse. There was an excellent balance of technical issues and the ethical implications. The speaker was attentive to questions and took time to answer them. The speaker did a good job of explaining rationale for his assessment of violations of ethical standards. This was well worth my time. I highly recommend this webinar.

  27. Enjoyed the Presentation


    Although the presenter definately has his own perspective on the issues, there is definitely a lot to learn from this material.

  28. Extremely poor presentation


    In 45 years of attending technical presentations, I have never seen one with so many misleading, inaccurate, and flat-out wrong statements.

  29. Very worthwhile


    Excellent course and wealth of information that is not usually available.

  30. Interesting information


    The instructor provided good overview of the building design and construction and the cause of the building collapse.

  31. LIVELY


    Very informative seminar with a lively discussion at the end. Hopefully the two resolve their differences of opinion amicably.

  32. WTC Colapse


    Thank you for the look at ethics involved in the investigation of the collapse of the WTC after the attacks in 2001.

  33. Excellent Presentation


    It is very difficult to combine the topics of engineering ethics with structural and forensic engineering. Professor Astaneh-Asl succeeded completely in this integration. I have attended and give many engineering courses. Few kept the audience interest and challenged their thinking processes and pre-conceived notions like the good Professor’s talk. I look forward to hearing any other seminar that he gives in the future.

  34. Great presentation


    Very interesting and informative

  35. World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    I found the webinar to be very interesting especially how the unique design contributed to the collapse. The ethics of how the Port Authority managed to gain exemptions from certain building codes, and inspections, and the conflicts of interest within the investigations after the collapse were surprising and enlightening.

  36. Very Informative


    A well presented course and very informative. Would recommend.

  37. Learned a lot from this course


    I really learned a lot about the base structure of the WTC, the investigation involved after the tragedy, and the important lessons learned from them. Great presentation!

  38. [Live Webinar] World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    While Dr. Astaneh-Asi’s qualifications to talk about the WTC are clear, the presentation itself was not. It rambled, went off on unnecessary tangents, and was repetitive in places. I did learn a few things about the towers and the investigation process that I did not know, but in the end, the ethical aspects got little attention. I would not recommend this course to a friend seeking an ethics course, but despite its faults, I would recommend it for someone looking for a failure analysis review.

  39. Neutral Comments


    Lots of good information not generally know to the public; enjoyed learning. However, the ethical points took a long time to develop and there was little discussion on the details revealed. Overall, I believe the webinar is well worth the time.

  40. Accurately describes the course content.


    As both an Architect and Structural Engineer I found the course to be both informative and educational.
    Prof. Astaneh does a good job identifying some design decisions made in the original tower design that (with twenty years hindsight) seem obviously doomed to fail both the integrity of the overall structure and its occupants in the event of a catastrophic (but foreseeable) attack on the building.
    His comments and observations about the role of the original design team in the post-collapse investigations were also well presented.



    The most relevant and emotionally moving PDH course I have ever taken. The instructor is one of the world’s foremost experts regarding the investigation of the events that took place. He was at ground zero days after the attack and spent 2 decades studying the causes and lessons learned. His account is personal and practical. He touches upon engineering design, politics, architectural history, and ethics–subjects that every PE must be well acquainted with.
    Thank you.

  42. World Trade Center - Engineering Ethical Issues in Design, Construction and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    Enjoyed the presentation very much. Not being a structural engineer (civil), the information presented was understandable and very interesting.

  43. 4

    As a fire protection engineer, I found the topic very relevant and interesting.

  44. WTC - Ethical issues relative to the design, construction,collapse and investigation


    The presentation was very thorough in presenting the history of the stages of the WTC from cradle to grave. There were obvious compromises made at every stage. The terrorist failed attempt in the basement attack drove them to understand the true weakness of the structures and develop a second, final and devastatingly successful attack. I sincerely appreciate the insights exposed by the pains-taking and meticulous presentation given by Dr. Astaneh of the background and underlying aspects which resulted in the 911 attack on the WTC to have been such a heartbreaking disaster costing so many innocent lives and, sadly, also an unrealized accounting for so many who were not terrorist but, none the less, whose ethical lapses put them in concert with the terrorists. I saw other comments about there not being enough ethical content in this presentation; sorry but it was dripping with aspects of unethical behavior revealed throughout the presentation; follow along next time without allowing distractions. Kudos Dr. Astaneh, you did a great job!

  45. 5

    Very interesting presentation from a person who was “on the ground” and had very early involvement in the investigation of the collapse. There are ethical questions brought up by this webinar that I never knew existed about the investigation into the collapse of the buildings and would really like better answers from the public agencies involved.

  46. World Trade Center-Engineering Ethical Issues


    Excellent Course. Very interesting and informative.

  47. Strong Ethics Awareness


    A very good course to drive home ethics from many levels. The panelist was honest and passionate about the subject

  48. World Trade Center


    Very interesting and informative. Answered questions I’d had as an engineer, but I was not familiar with the structural anomalies of the building. This presentation really made the outcome of what happened that day very clear. I felt the presentation was very specific as to the cause of the collapse. And I appreciated the scenarios describing different outcomes using “as built” construction compared to the more common steel beam construction.





  50. World Trade Center- Engineering Ethical Issues in the Design, Construction, and the Investigation of Its Collapse


    The Port Authority as a government agency was exempt from compliance to various codes. For an organization responsible for design & construction and public safety this is a great conflict of interest. This was a good presentation.

  51. Good forensic engineering


    I worked in the WTC for 18 years. I was there in the 93 bombing but missed 9/11 by 3 years but lost 13 friends/coworkers. Being this close to the subject, I have read considerable publications on the collapse but this presentation has crystallized the obvious flaws of the design, and has given me new information regarding the structural response. It wasn’t your usual “ethics” course but I found the presentation excellent.

  52. 4

    Excellent presentation. Discussed many facts that I was not aware of.

  53. Excellent presentation!


    This, by far, was one of the best webinars I’ve ever attended. Dr. Astaneh-Asl did an excellent job of presenting the data in an easy-to-understand method and made it very interesting at the same time.

  54. 5

    Wonderful course. Lots of valuable information

  55. Very educational and interesting


    I really liked the thoroughness of this presentation; the history, the people, the design choices made for economics, the politics, comparison to standard (code) construction techniques, etc.. I also thought it was respectful of the victims. Thank you.

  56. World Trade Center


    Very interesting presentation.

  57. 3

    Agree with earlier comments, very little ethics discussed, until the end. Interesting discussion of as built vs code design.

  58. Long course with little actual content


    Very generic presentation with no real specifics on the cause of the collapse. Very little ethical discussion and content until the very end, which was disappointing.

  • $139.00
  • Average Rating4.2
  • Webinar No: WBNR-1147
  • PDH Units: 2

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